Home cooks are a dying breed but that doesn’t mean they’re extinct. From $4 seeds to a $6,000 grill, here are 25 ideas to help you shop for the person who watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi then booked a flight to Japan — or thought about it, at least.
1. Spicewalla Home Chef Collection
Spicewalla was devised with a simple premise: the spices you buy at the grocery store are old and stale. These are not. Originally founded as an outlet for chefs to buy spices in bulk, Spicewalla now sells everything from individual jars to curated gift boxes to 50-pound bags.
2. Row 7 Seeds
Dan Barber (the chef behind Blue Hill) is so serious about produce that he decided to sell the seeds of the veggies he serves at his Michelin-starred restaurants. Try the experimental hybrids like the 898 Squash and Habanada pepper.
3. Hot Ones “The Classic”
The Chile de Arbol wing sauce that kicks off episodes of the Hot Ones Youtube series is available for purchase for all of $10. Makes a good gag gift for heathens who “don’t like spicy food” and a great one for wing fiends.
4. Pyrex Deep Bakeware
Real ones know the struggle of too-shallow bakeware; or really anyone who’s made lasagna in the standard Pyrex containers. Get these for all tall food cooking needs and start with seven-layer dip.
5. Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels
Price: $16 (set of four)
Hands-down some of the most absorbent kitchen towels money can buy, and it doesn’t take much of it to get them.
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6. Joyce Chen Kitchen Shears
The shears Katie Button (of Cúrate) calls “small but mighty” are perfect for breaking down chicken, cutting lobsters in half and just about every other task you don’t want to ruin your knife doing.
7. Nobleza del Sur Organic Olive Oil
A Best in Class winner at “olive oil’s biggest stage,” this ultra-fruity, slightly acidic olive oil is not something one would cook with. Drizzle over a fresh salad or dip warm bread in it for a hint of what olive oil should taste like.
8. ‘South’ by Sean Brock
Sean Brock’s followup to his James Beard-winning Heritage cookbook carries hundreds of recipes with deep Southern roots, but it’s also chockfull of the region’s culinary culture. Between guides to seasoning your cast-iron skillet to a step-by-step walkthrough on buttermaking for the home chef, South is more than a glorified grocery list.
9. Peugeot 9-Inch Pepper Mill
To chefs new and old, Peugeot’s pepper mill is the only pepper mill that matters. It’s sturdy, simple, elegant and it just works.
10. Bernzomatic TS8000
The longer one owns a high-powered blowtorch, the more uses one discovers. Firm up the crust of a thick steak without overcooking the interior, crisp the crowns of crème brûlée or initiate maillard reactions at your leisure. Instead of getting a torch meant for a kitchen — and therefore way underpowered — reach for something with more kick. Add the Searzall extension for maximum fun.
11. Oxo Good Grips Container Set
Not the sexiest gift, but one that promises mileage. Oxo’s food containers seal out oxygen with a satisfying pop and help get the most unruly kitchens organized.
12. Material Angled Cutting Board
Available in maple or walnut, the drop caused by the Material board’s trapezoidal shape lets you slide garlic, onion, herbs or whatever else off the board and into a pan (or your hand) without a mess. The deep-cut juice spills are nice, too.
13. Potluck Utensil Set
A 3-quart mixing bowl, 4-quart mixing bowl, colander, peeler, grater, ladle, silicone spatula, fish spatula, tongs, wooden spoons, measuring cups and measuring spoons for $80. Get this for the person who’s learning how to cook, or needs to.
14. SolidTeknics Wrought-Iron Skillet
Instead of pouring liquid iron into molds and letting the metal cool, SolidTeknics punches thinner iron skillets out of sheets. The result is an iron skillet that’s half the weight and keeps its penchant for heat retention.
15. Made In Carbon Steel Roasting Pan
Made In got its start making cladded stainless steel cookware good enough for commercial kitchens and affordable enough for consumer ones. Its new roasting pan is made of — carbon steel, a material that performs like a hybrid of stainless steel and cast iron — and features taller-than-usual walls to prevent spilling and aide in even cooking.
16. Five Two Mixing Bowls
Designed by Food52 and thousands of Food52 readers, these are stoneware mixing bowls with a pour spout and one really, really smart design feature: the inside is rounded, but the base is flat. This means your bowl isn’t at risk of sliding around the counter while you’re kneading.
17. Simplehuman Trashcan
The 50-liter Simplehuman step-can is a trashcan grail. The lid closes consistently and quietly and the designers made it especially easy to take bags out and clean the interior.
18. ThermoWorks Thermapen IR
The most-respected name in temperature monitoring does not make cheap products. ThermoWorks’ probes are safe-to-use at much higher temperatures than their cheaper competition and significantly more accurate. The IR version of the Thermapen does what past iterations did, but allows you to check the temperature of a pan before dropping a steak in.
19. Anova Precision Cooker
What was already in contention for the best sous vide circulator for home cooks got better this year. The upgrade Precision Cooker is slimmer, more water-resistant and is supported by a far more robust app.
20. Thomas Keller Cangshan Chef’s Knife
Co-designed by one of America’s greatest living chefs, the Cangshan chef’s knife is a Red Dot Design Award-winning stainless steel blade with a skyhigh hardness score. Get this for cooks who want a sturdy, sharp knife that’s easy to care for. If they already have a nice chef’s knife, get them steak knives from another Cangshan-Keller collab.
21. Google Nest Hub Max
Why make the jump from the smaller Google hubs to the biggest one? For the modern home chef, it’s all about Youtube. Follow along with recipe videos, cooking tutorials and more without having to use your hands to pause and play the video. Use it to set timers and reminders, too.
22. Vermicular Kamado Pot
Japan’s take on a Dutch oven is pretty close to famous French brands, with one important exception: the lid is laser cut for a steam-tight fit. The result is a pot that intensifies the flavors of whatever you’re cooking on levels hitherto unknown.
23. Breville Combi Wave
A microwave that’s also a fast-heating convection oven and air fryer made by one of the best kitchen appliance makers in the world. Enough said.
24. Dyson Pure Cool Cryptonic
Cooking releases an incredible amount of airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your home, and without an air purifier or some really strong in-home circulation most of the particles aren’t going anywhere. Dyson’s latest purifier tackles 99.97 percent of said particles, and is its first with the ability to break down formaldehyde, one of the home’s most common VOCs
25. Kalamazoo Kamado Charcoal Grill
Kalamazoo builds all the grills in its lineup by hand in its Michigan workshop. Its newest grill is the spiritual successor to the Big Green Egg — a heat-retaining smoker with enormous cooking versatility. The biggest difference (other than the materials and price) is the shape; Kalamazoo made the traditionally circular kamado-style grill a rectangle, providing significantly more grill space than the kamados of the past.
Berti Insieme Tomato Knife
The 5-inch serrated blade of Berti’s Tomato Knife is designed to aid in slicing soft fruits and vegetables, but it also makes for a wieldy tool when prepping charcuterie or cutting hard cheeses and bread.